saccades_01_proc Marc Downie. Saccades, 2014, DOWNIE ESHKAR KAISER. Image courtesy of the artist.

artistic research lunch hour

Marc Downie – Making Art With Computers: What We Know So Far   

May 1

11:30am to 12:30pm


In this talk, Downie traces threads connecting modern dance and music to contemporary digital art. From this intersection of fields there emerges a set of practices grounded in iteration and experimentation, supported by custom-made tools, and oriented around introspection and reflection. Configured for bricolage, they stage encounters between cold computational forms and the vital exigencies and impurities of the world.

These approaches, he suggests, can connect seemingly disparate branches of art, science, and the humanities, from supercomputer simulations to machine-learning-based film analysis. He sketches the stakes of this argument by presenting a survey of his artworks and stereoscopic experimental films that draw upon materials such as motion-capture data, photographic images, and field recordings of sound.

Marc Downie is a Scottish-born digital artist and co-founder of the studio OpenEndedGroup. He holds a PhD in media arts and sciences from MIT and an MSci in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge (UK). His pioneering approach to digital art combines three signature elements: non-photorealistic computational imagery; the incorporation of body movement by motion-capture and other means; and the autonomy of artworks directed by artificial intelligence.

Over the last decade his studio has worked in the broadest variety of contexts: making art for façade, gallery, dance, cinema, and VR. His collaborative works respond to an ever-expanding range of materials-drawing, film, motion capture, photography, music, and architecture.

OpenEndedGroup has presented work at the Lincoln Center, MoMA, Hayward Gallery, ICA Boston, Sadler’s Wells, Festival d’Automne, Detroit Institute of Art, SITE Santa Fe, the film festivals of Sundance, New York, Rome, Berlin, and many others. Downie has had residencies in museums, schools, and research institutions including the Gardner Museum in Boston, the University of Chicago, IRCAM, Le Fresnoy, the University of Michigan, and EMPAC.